CONVERSE, Texas – The parents of a teen shot and killed during a scuffle Sunday night are hoping their son’s death encourages other teenagers to stay on the right path.
Ian Harrison, 16, died after San Antonio police said he and a 17-year-old suspect got into an argument that escalated to them tussling over a gun. Harrison was shot in the torso and died at the scene.
“We had all these plans for him but this senseless gun violence just took him,” said Jim Harrison, the victim’s father. “We are just numb and at this time do not know what the next step is because it happened so suddenly.”
The teen’s parents were very transparent about their son’s issues that they tried to manage. They said when he was younger, his life was on the right track.
“He was brilliant,” said Stacey Harrison, the victim’s mother. “He got the presidential award. He went to a Christian school up until middle school. He was very athletic. He was in football, AAU basketball. He was in soccer. He was in baseball. He was a good kid. Played the guitar and skated.”
Ian Harrison older brother and role model, Sean Harrison, died in a motorcycle accident when Ian was 12.
“They were very close and Ian always looked up to him,” Jim Harrison said. “Sean would always tell him, ‘You got to keep yourself straight, man. It is alright to party a little bit but you have to keep going to school.’”
“When we lost him (Sean), Ian started spiraling out of control,” Stacey Harrison said. “He got real bad with his drug addiction. Each time he went to rehab, it would get worse. This last time, though, he admitted himself, which is a big step for a teenager. I was proud of him.”
Ian Harrison’s parents said he had just graduated from rehab and was taking an online GED course. They said they have no idea how he got his hands on a gun.
“From what we understand, he was hanging out and someone pulled a gun out and Ian pulled one out and guns were brought out, some kind of scuffle happened,” Jim Harrison said. “I don’t know all the circumstances. The thing is, kids can get guns in the streets. That is where he got it from. We didn’t even know he had a gun.”
Stacey Harrison said they did all they could to try to keep their son from getting into trouble.
“We did not condone the use of guns, whatsoever,” Stacey Harrison said. “We have tried keeping him in check and taking care of him. We made sure no guns were available to him but he got one from the streets. I tried putting a tracker on his phone to make sure he wasn’t getting into trouble, he took it off. I tried giving him a curfew, he would sneak out of the house.”
She said peer pressure played a major role in Ian Harrison’s troubles.
“It is really hard for parents and they want to blame themselves, but it’s really the peer pressure and the movies and the music they listen to,” Stacey Harrison said. “The movie industry then turns around and glamorizes this kind of behavior and they think it is a fun life and it is not.”
They are frustrated that gun violence is what took their son’s life.
“Why do our young kids turn to guns?” Stacey Harrison asked. “If you have a beef about someone, just fight it out like we used to. Why bring guns in? It takes away people forever and it changes everybody’s life involved. They just don’t understand the impact. They will understand if it happens to them. It is devastating.”
Stacey Harrison said she will forever cherish the good memories she had with her son.
“I was his Uber driver, so we would have our conversations and listen to his music and we would jam out together. He would make me laugh all the time,” she said through tears. “He was a funny kid. I’ll see him again one day. I know he accepted God before he died. I know he didn’t live a good life while he was here, but I know Jesus had him somewhere in his heart.”
They said they hope their son’s death motivates others to think twice about their actions.
“The hard part of our relationship with Ian was that he did not listen to us,” Jim Harrison said. “Listen to your parents. We are not here to put you down. We are here to build you up.”
The family said Ian Harrison’s friends are planning a candlelight vigil for him Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Converse City Park.